Trending Topic Research Files
Trending Topic Research Files

The AERA Trending Topics page highlights published research from AERA's peer-reviewed journals on major education topics currently making headlines. Articles are provided here at no cost to help inform and enhance public discussion, media coverage, and policy development.

Articles are organized by issue into "Trending Topic Research Files," which are listed below alphabetically. The articles are listed by publication date as well as by author. Links to full articles, author webpages, and author email addresses are included. To suggest a new topic file, email   

Trending Topic Research Files

Anti-racist education ensures that every student receives an education that is truthful and free from bias in a supportive setting. 

Bullying Prevention and School Safety
Bullying presents one of the greatest health risks to children, youth, and young adults in U.S. society today. School safety, including the prevention is bullying, is a top national priority and a key area of academic research.

College Admissions and Enrollment
Who is applying to college, who gets in, where do students decide to go, and how to make the process fair and equitable are among some of the biggest questions facing higher education leaders, students and families, and policymakers.

Common Core State Standards
The Common Core State Standards, released in 2010 for English language arts and mathematics, have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. 

At all levels of education, instructors, institution leaders, and policy makers are facing an unprecedented challenge that are caused by the coronavirus pandemic, trying to ensure that high quality and equitable teaching and learning continues under rapidly changing and unpredictable conditions. 

Early Education
Early education, including preschool, prekindergarten, and programs such as Head Start, is a robust area of education research.

Education Technology and Online Learning
Educators and policymakers have long been interested in finding ways to use advances in technology to support and improve student learning. The benefits and downsides of online learning, e-books, virtual reality, video, and other forms of education technology are increasingly being examined by researchers.

Financial Aid
Research supports the notion that financial aid can influence students’ postsecondary opportunities, decisions, and outcomes, but questions remain about the impact and optimal design of financial aid programs and policies.

Learning Loss
The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student achievement and education equity has made learning loss one of the most critical issues facing educators, students, and researchers. Learning loss during summer breaks remains a persistent challenge.

Recent legal, social, and policy shifts in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LBGTQ) people are causing educators and education researchers to address LGBTQ issues with a new sense of legitimacy and urgency.

Mental Health
The turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, gun violence, and the intrusion of political partisanship into school and university governance have all contributed to the growing mental health crisis affecting students and educators.

Opportunity Gaps
Opportunity gaps demonstrating differences in academic performance between students of different genders, races, and income levels are prevalent in school districts across the country. 

Race and Admissions
In 2023, the Supreme Court outlawed the use of race-conscious admissions policies. Colleges and universities will continue to strive to ensure they admit and enroll diverse classes. 

School Choice
Programs that offer students and their parents options to local public schools – including vouchers, charter schools, magnet schools, and open enrollment – are increasingly common and hotly debated.

School Leadership
Ensuring that school leaders are being successfully trained, supported, and retained; given the tools they need to make a difference; and are being recruited from diverse backgrounds is crucial to school effectiveness, teacher performance, and student success.

Social Emotional Learning
School leaders are increasingly focused on students' social-emotional learning skills—such as self- and social awareness, relationship skills, decision making, and self-management—to enhance their overall academic performance.

Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is one of the most talked about topics in education, emphasizing research, problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity.

Value Added Models
Over the past decade, the use of value‐added models (VAM) in teacher and administrator evaluation has grown nationally, while becoming one of education’s most controversial issues.